Baked Chicken Legs (with Best Marinade)
Baked Chicken Legs with the best garlic-lemon-dijon marinade that is easy and excellent. Roasting the chicken legs results in crispy skin and a juicy center.
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Chicken is on the regular rotation at our house. We love chicken dinners like Chicken Tetrazzini, our favorite Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Alfredo Pasta because they are simple, tasty, and inexpensive.
Why You’ll Love this Chicken Recipe
There’s something so comforting and welcoming about the aroma of Roast Chicken in the kitchen, and you’ll get compliments on these chicken legs before they even come out of the oven.
The marinade really makes this recipe. Have you tried mustard on chicken? It’s mouthwatering. Everything about this recipe is good from the tasty marinade and easy prep to the juicy dark meat center and crisp salty chicken skin.
The Best Chicken Marinade
Here’s our secret – we use the same marinade on our famous Baked Salmon. We were thrilled to find out it’s amazing on chicken as well. P.S. This also happens to be low carb, paleo, and keto-friendly.
- Olive oil – we used light oil which has a higher smoke point, not extra virgin
- Garlic – pressed or finely minced cloves
- Parsley – flat-leaf or Italian parsley
- Lemon juice – freshly squeezed is best.
- Mustard – Dijon mustard adds great depth of flavor
- Salt and black pepper – season generously as some of the marinade is lost to the baking sheet.
How to Make Baked Chicken Legs
Chicken legs are our favorite because they are dark meat so they naturally have great flavor. Coat them in this amazing marinade and these may just be the tastiest chicken drumsticks you’ve had.
1. Make the Marinade: Stir together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
2. Marinate the Chicken: Place chicken legs in a large mixing bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss by hand to evenly coat the chicken and get some of it under the skins. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 6 hours or overnight, turning the legs once.
3. Bake Chicken Legs: Preheat the oven and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a Silpat liner. Arrange chicken skin-side-down. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake 25 minutes at 400˚F skin side down, then turn the chicken legs over and bake another 25 minutes.
For Extra Crispy Skin: bake on a rack for crisp skin all around then broil on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the skins have browned.
Air Fryer Instructions
Air fry chicken legs at 375˚F for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 165˚F. You’ll need to cook in batches for most air fryers to keep them in a single layer so air can circulate.
Can I Substitute the Chicken Legs?
If you want to make this recipe with different cuts of chicken, you’ll want to adjust the timings and cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If using chicken breast or tenderloins, cut the marinating time in half.
- Chicken breasts: bake for 25-30 minutes
- Chicken tenderloins: bake 15-20 minutes
- Bone-in, skin-on thighs: bake 45- 50 minutes
- Boneless chicken thighs: bake 20-25 minutes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes – so quick and easy
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad – fresh, light, and satisfying
- Panzanella Salad – with tomatoes and homemade croutons
- Corn on the Cob – perfect corn in 15 minutes
Tips For Oven-Baked Chicken Legs
- Pat dry chicken: use paper towels to pat dry chicken before applying marinade.
- Give it time to marinate: The secret to excellent chicken legs is lengthy marinating (at least 6 hours and ideally overnight). For even more flavor, massage the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg.
- Use the pan drippings: brush chicken with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven.
For Easy Cleanup: line the baking sheet fully with foil before baking to avoid scrubbing the pan.
- Refrigerate – cooked chicken can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- Re-Heating – place leftover cooked chicken in the oven or air fryer at 375˚F until warmed through.
More Chicken Recipes
- Spatchcock Chicken – The best way to roast a whole chicken!
- Mom’s Chicken Drumsticks – the onion marinade is so tasty
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings – with a crispy exterior
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken – don’t skip the pan-dripping gravy
- Chicken Casserole – a favorite potluck and party dish
- Lemon Chicken – an easy, one-skillet chicken recipe
Baked Chicken Legs with Best Marinade
In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients and stir or whisk together until well blended .
Transfer chicken legs to a large mixing bowl or a large ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss with your hands to evenly coat the chicken, pushing some of the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg for richer flavor. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate 6 hours or overnight, tossing chicken once while marinating.
Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a silpat. Arrange chicken skin-side-down and bring chicken to room temp while oven preheats. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake at 400˚F in the center of oven for 25 minutes skin-side-down then turn the chicken legs over and bake additional 25 minutes skin-side-up. For crispier skin, broil on high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until skins have browned.*
*For extra flavor, brush chicken legs with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven and serve garnished with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
Note: Much of the oil, marinade and salt will end up in the bottom of the pan and discarded after baking which makes it difficult to gauge the nutrition facts on this recipe.